Thinking About a Ceramic Grill…Now’s the BEST Time to Buy a Primo!

As you may or may not be aware, we have added a Retail Grill and Smoker shop to our lineup of Grilling and BBQ business activities!  Why would we venture into the ‘sharkBBQ tank’ that is retail sales?  Easy…we’ve got LOTS of Experience and Knowledge that can help us listen to your needs and identify the RIGHT product for YOU.  Then, after the sale, we’re still here to help you learn to burn!  We firmly believe that you can educate yourself about all things BBQ and Grilling online…there is TONS of information out there and Education does indeed teach one the RULES, BUT…EXPERIENCE teaches the EXCEPTIONS!  We think each is equally important in life and especially in BBQ!

We’ve got two brands of Grills/Smokers that we currently sell and we’re evaluating Primo OVAL XL Grillmore.  First up, we offer the full line of (Made in the USA) Primo Ceramics which boast their famous Oval design and Extended Cooking Rack system that can deliver nearly 700sq. in. of cooking surface in an amazingly small footprint.  In addition to the versatility of space, it offers you true multi-zone heating so you can cook veg AND do a reverse sear on your steaks ALL on the SAME Grill!  Ceramics provide AWESOME thermal insulation and wind blocking, not to mention nice, even heat which is great for cooking real deal BBQ ‘Low & Slow’ too!  With a 20 year Warranty you can expect a lifetime of service from your Primo Grill/Smoker.

Additionally, we have the revolutionary Myron Mixon Pitmaster Q3 Pellet Grill/Smoker!  It’s easy to use, well designed and built and could LITERALLY replace that cobweb MM Q3filled, rusting gas grill you’ve got outside your back door!  With the ease of use that pellets offer and incredibly innovative features such as a water pan option, firebox burn out and easy ash removal…it’s hard to beat thePitmaster Q3!  Priced lower than most Big Box Store Gas Grills it’s the perfect option to add a whole new dimension to your outdoor cooking and LOTS of wood fired flavor to every dish you cook!

Why is now the BEST time to buy?  Well, until July 7th, the Primo All American Sales Event is happening!  Buy any qualifying Primo Promo 714Primo Grill and Table and get up to $400+ in FREE Accessories to make your purchase complete!  You’ll have the complete outdoor cooking system that stands above all other Ceramics and save BIG BUCKS!  Additionally, we’ve got the Pitmaster Q3 at our lowest price EVER and will toss in a FREE Bag of Pellets to boot!  In fact, buy ANY Grill/Smoker from us and we’ll toss in a T-Shirt and Bottle of BBQ Sauce too!

SO…what are you waiting for, we’re conveniently located at 105 Texaco Road in Mechanicsburg, PA 17050 and can be found on FaceBook & Twitter!  Call Jim at 717-254-1937 x1 or e-mail: Jim@GreatQ4U.com for more information or stop by the shop!  We don’t sell hardware, outdoor furniture or home heating products…we ONLY sell BBQ and Grilling products and services and we provide service before, during and AFTER the sale!  For more info online, visit us at http://www.Grill-SmokeHQ.com

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Mr. Grill Brush

By, Jim Knepper

Few things are more important when grilling than to have adequate fuel and clean,’seasoned’ grates and it’s been my experience that many folks who cook on their Mr. Grill Brushgrills a LOT clean their grates after every use and lay on a thin coat of oil before covering up the grill.  There are a TON of Grill Brushes on the market today and each has got it’s own style and functionality.  As the second product from Mr. Grill that I have reviewed, I can say that this brush meets the standard set by their awesome grilling gloves! (Which I use every night)

Right off the bat, I noticed that the brush was in sealed plastic bag with a pack of Well built and sturdy!desiccant gel in it to keep it from rusting…a nice start to the experience and an extra step to make sure you get it as it was when it left the factory! First impression was that it’s a versatile design that not only cleans the TOP of your grates, but the shape and size is perfect for cleaning between and under the grates as well.  A sturdy long wooden handle that is firmly secured to the brush and brass bristles that give you strength, but also protect your grates round out the package!

Now it’s easy to say that a brush is a brush, but anyone who’s ever spent any significant amount of time cooking over open flame knows this isn’t so!  Some brushes are clearly better than others and having the proper tool for the job is always a good start!  In order to put it to the test, I had a grand old time getting my grates dirty!  Beef, Chicken, Shrimp and for good measure, a handful of shredded cheese directly onto the grates!

First thing I noticed as I began to clean up the mess was the length of the handle.  It’s longer than most and provides more Mr. Grill Brush Handlethan adequate distance to clean the whole grill while it’s still hot…a good practice to get into if you’re not already doing it!  Next, I found that the brass bristles made quick work of the majority of the gunk on the grates!  Melted cheese is a tough competitor and the Mr. Grill Brush clearly won that round.  Additionally, the size and shape of the brush itself makes easy work of getting those stubborn bits off the sides and under the grates!  Finally, as a guy who uses GrillGrates on a regular basis, I found it to be a PERFECT tool for getting down into the valleys between the Grates!

Mr Grill Brush GratesI’ve been at it for over a week now with the Mr. Grill Brush and it has not worn a bit, the bristles have remained true and it’s as easy as cleaning grates can be with this product.  It’s available online through their website: http://www.mrgrillproducts.com or on Amazon.  So, in brief, I would give the Mr. Grill brush two thumbs up and a full rack of ribs…it could easily clean up after them!  So, get your grill on this Summer and clean up with Mr. Grill!

Mr. Grill Thermal Heat Resistant Gloves – PRODUCT REVIEW

By, Jim Knepper

Recently, we received a pair of Mr. Grill gloves to try out around the pits and write a Mr. Grill 1review of here on the Blog.  With the ‘Arctic Trough’ that hovers above us and most of the country, I must admit that my ability to use them on the Pits or even the grill has been limited, BUT…we have used them in and around the kitchen and I think are able to provide a fairly comprehensive review.  That said, I will post an update and photos when it this Arctic weather moves out and we can get some better photos!

Mr. Grill 2Mr. Grill gloves are made with Kevlar and are Nomex lined (same stuff that firefighters and race car drivers use to protect them from fire) come in a box of two priced at $29.99 and are available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EF3YF0Y) or directly from the Mr. Grill Website (http://www.mrgrillproducts.com/).  While there are many similar products on the market, there are a few notable differences that we’ve observed so far:

  • The silicone ‘gripping’ on the gloves is in a webbed pattern that provides significant coverage on the front AND back of the glove which makes the possibility of hot stuff slipping out of your hands minimal.
  • The gloves are ‘One Size fits Most’ which is a normal thing for this type of product, but with my short, chubby fingers required a bit of ‘pulling down’ on the fingers to get a good fit.  Not really an inconvenience given that they will fit just about any adult in the family.
  • You get TWO gloves for what some companies will charge you for only ONE.
  • The company’s claims that the gloves can withstand heat up to 450°F and will endure an open flame are REALLY TRUE!  We used them on several trays of ‘cracklin’s’ that we did at 500°F and never felt the heat from the sheet pans!

So…First Impression of the Mr. Grill gloves is that you get a great deal on a pair of Mr. Grill 3gloves that will serve you both on the smoker/grill and around the kitchen at a price point of about $15 per glove!  They have some distinctive features such as the extensive use of silicone that make them superior to other gloves of this type that we have used for handling hot metals.  While they are NOT impervious to water or BBQ sauce and should not be used when wet…they are awfully handy around the kitchen and Pits!  SO…TWO (gloved) thumbs up for Mr. Grill’s Nomex lined Grill Gloves from us!

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“BBQ” and “Grilling”….a Primer

Ok, so IF you’re a seasoned ‘BBQ’ Pro…this would be redundant information and you can feel free to browse around the rest of the Blog for an article that you might enjoy a bit more.  If NOT, than this is merely one guy’s primer on the significant differences between what is typically referred to as ‘Barbeque’ and the more common practice of ‘Grilling’.  I feel it’s a relevant topic given that this is the time of year when the Department and Home Improvement stores market the heck out of their ‘BBQ at Home’ products and accessories.

It actually is an important difference and to be honest, I enjoy both of the techniques.  As far as the meals we eat at our dinner table during the Spring, Summer and Fall months…to be even more honest, the majority of them are grilled as it can be done quicker and I ‘BBQ’ a LOT of meat for other folks during these months…so it’s a nice departure from the ‘usual’ for me!

BBQ (Barbecue) by definition is a method for ‘char grilling’ food over a flame.  In the much of the world it is synonymous with ‘Grilling’, however in the United States it has a long and storied history going back to our earliest days.  It was both a way to preserve meats and a method of cooking tougher, less expensive cuts of meat that were available to both settlers looking to use the whole animal following a kill and to the slaves in the South which is why that region is most often considered the home of ‘American BBQ’.

In the US, “BBQ” typically refers to the now common (thanks to Food TV) term & cooking method of ‘Low & Slow’…although there is a movement in the Competition BBQ Circuit and among many folks (lots of them in Texas) to cook “High & Hot” BBQ.  For the purpose of this post and because it’s the way that WE do it…we’ll stick to ‘Low & Slow’ for our definition of BBQ.  How low?  GREAT Question…most folks will tell you 225ºF which is what many of them cook at…we cook even LOWER than that…how much we will keep to ourselves, BUT I will say that water boils (and therefore converts to steam and leaves the meat) at 212ºF…so we cook BELOW that!

Fire from some source that originates as wood is the common denominator in traditional American-Style BBQ.  Whether it’s whole logs, Charcoal, a combination of Wood Chunks and Charcoal or Solid Wood (FOOD GRADE) pellets, the choice of your fuel is a subject worthy of its own Blog post.  We cook primarily with Wood Pellets for heat control and consistency of smoke, but all are effective methods given the right equipment, knowledge and experience.  So, if you’re thinking about getting into the world of ‘Low & Slow’ BBQ…find a good shop, do your homework online and educate yourself about what will work best for your situation.

Which cuts of meat are most often associated with BBQ?  Well, as I mentioned earlier the technique lends itself to the tougher ‘Primal Cuts’ of meats that in years past were either scrapped, cut up for stew or ground into sausage or burger.  Most commonly, these include; Pork Shoulder (Front shoulder which can be bought whole or separated into the Top: Boston Butt and Bottom: Picnic Roast), Beef Brisket (The lower part of a cow’s chest that runs just in front of the leg along the side and onto the bottom), Spare Ribs (Most Commonly Pork, but can also be Beef…especially in Texas)  and the Dark Meat cuts of Chicken (Usually the Thigh with the ‘Oyster’ still attached)…chicken’s tricky though as it can REALLY dry out easily on a smoker.

By using the ‘Low & Slow’ method to cook these cuts of meat, you are not only imparting a pleasant ‘Smoke’ flavor to the profile of the meat, you are combining it with whatever other flavors you bring to the table by the application of ‘Rubs’, Mop Sauces Ribsand BBQ Sauce if you so choose. We typically opt for the ‘less is more’ approach and keep it simple, but our Pulled Pork (for example) does get a liberal rub of our own spice blend before it hits the smoke and then about every 2 hours, it gets a ‘Mop’ from a primarily Vinegar based and thin ‘sauce’ which helps to build up a crust or ‘Bark’ on the outside of the meat.  When this ‘Bark’ is pulled into the final product, it adds incredible flavor and texture that makes it a bit more special.  Every meat is different and each requires lots of practice (tasty, tasty practice) to perfect, so it’s easy to learn, but hard to master!  You can use the same spices on all your BBQ meats, or you can do some homework and find combinations that work the best for various cuts and come up with a variety of spice blends that you like!

The KEY to cooking Low & Slow is that you cook the meat long enough to break down the connective tissues in these tougher muscles and allow them to soften up.  Additionally, you will melt the collagen that is contained in these cuts and allow it to blend into the meat adding an INCREDIBLE amount of flavor.  This is BEST achieved by cooking with a THERMOMETER and NOT a clock!  I can’t TELL you how much I cringe when I see ’12 Hour Pulled Pork’…it’s just not possible to cook by a clock and deliver a consistent product!  Every animal is different and all cuts take different lengths of time to be done ‘just right’…again, getting to know where your meat comes from and how long it takes to reach just the right temperature are all parts of the ‘BBQ Learning Curve’ and something you’ve got to master in order to consistently crank out GREAT BBQ!  Fortunately there are TONS of resources out there to give you a starting point!  I would suggest investing in a GOOD meat thermometer…we use Thermapens (~$90…but WORTH IT!!!) to make sure that our meats are done just right.  We also use ‘wrapping’ in foil for several cuts, including Ribs and Brisket, but that’s a whole ‘nuther Blog post too!

OK…now for ‘Grilling’…not too much about it though, as we ARE a ‘BBQ Caterer and Quisqueya Spice Thighs Smokin'!Competition Team’ – This is most commonly done in the US on Propane, Natural Gas or Charcoal grills.  As it is typically done in the US, ‘Grilling’ is cooking over a much higher heat and lends itself to a variety of applications.  This is how you should do your STEAKS!  The heat helps to carmelize the outside of the meat and create what is known as the Maillard Reaction which is a form of nonenzymatic browning that creates flavor, seals the ‘outside’ of the meat and keeps the moisture and flavor locked in.  Typically associated with Beef, this reaction occurs with any meat that you cook on a grill and is worth some research if you cook this way a lot.  In addition to the ‘usual’ proteins, the high heat method of grilling is a great way to do all kinds of seafood, from fish fillets to cedar planked Salmon or even Oysters and Clams…Grilling is the way to go!  Veggies lend themselves to grilling pretty well too!  Some of my favorites are Squash of all kinds, Eggplant, Onions and Asparagus!  They should be coated with a mix of spices and just a little bit of oil (we use olive oil) before hitting the heat and then cooked just enough to get a nice char and keep a firm texture.

OK…that’s a LOT of typing for a Monday morning and I hope that if you read along this far, it has been helpful!  As always if we can help in ANY way, just let us know!  We ARE running a whole series of ‘BBQ Classes’ this year which are on the website: http://www.greatq4u.com/BBQ_Classes.html or you can give us a call at 717-254-1937 or e-mail: Info@GreatQ4U.com and we’ll be happy to help!  SO…Spring is in the AIR…get out and ‘Do Some Que’! 🙂

A’h….Sunrise and Wood Smoke!

Get out and enjoy the "Q" all year long!

Yep, it’s 16 degrees and I just fired up one of the smokers to put together a tasting tray for a potential customer….I love THAT smell no matter what the temperature is outside! 

Inevitably I spend a significant portion of every Winter season encouraging folks to get outside and fire up your own smokers!  I ramble on and on about how I think that BBQ tastes better in the Winter because it’s on the smoker (typically) a bit longer and opine about the additional smoke and flavor that this imparts.  Rarely however, or at all do I discuss specifically what you can do to minimize the effects of cold weather on your smoking efforts!

It’s true that no matter how closely you follow these tips, you’ll still be cooking longer in the cooler months!  Most smokers are made of steel (or some other strong metal) which is ‘conductive’ meaning that it will absorb that cool air and transfer it into your cooking chamber…just no way to stop THAT!  However, you can take a few simple steps to make Wintertime smoking a bit more, shall we say, manageable;  Keep your smoker out of the wind…if it’s not possible to do that, at least try to keep the wind broken up before it hits your smoker.  It’s best if you can keep your smoker under cover of some type too…reason; conductivity!  O’h of course it’s NOT enjoyable to stand in the pouring rain or pretty falling snow…but again, any kind of precipitation will directly affect the temp in your cooking chamber.  Finally, plan on a bit of extra time to cook your meal…you can always dial back the heat and keep it warm if it comes up to temp earlier!

SO…just a few simple steps and you’ll be able to put that big, bad smoker of yours to work all year long!  Get out there and cook some “Q”…I’m heading out that way now, maybe I’ll see ya’ in the back yard! 🙂